Former South African President Zuma was arrested

South Africa’s imprisoned former president Jacob Zuma has been admitted to hospital for observation near the Estcourt Correctional Center, where he is currently serving a 15-month sentence, the government announced on Friday.

Zuma is in jail for defying an ordinance court order to testify at a state-sponsored investigation into allegations of corruption during his 2009-2018 presidency.

A routine check indicated that Zuma would be admitted to a hospital, according to the prison service’s statement. Zuma’s jail last month sparked violent riots in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces, which quickly led to extensive looting of shopping malls and the burning of trucks in KwaZulu-Natal. More than 330 people died in the riots and more than 20 billion South African rand ($ 1.36 billion) in property were destroyed.

Zuma has filed a motion to have his prison sentence overturned by the Constitutional Court and is expected to appear in Pietermaritzburg High Court next week in a separate corruption trial.

The news of Zuma’s hospital stay follows the government reshuffle, with President Cyril Ramaphosa dismissing some of his ministers over recent riots and allegations of corruption.

Ramaphosa has been widely criticized for his government’s slow response to the riots, which allowed the looting to spread over several days.

“Our security services were found to be lacking in several respects,” Ramaphosa said of the response to the riots when he announced the change of government.

Ramaphosa fired Defense Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, who publicly opposed the president’s claim that the riots were part of a planned uprising. He took more direct control of the country’s security and intelligence services and said he would set up a panel to review the government’s “readiness and shortcomings” in response to the riots. Ramaphosa also fired Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, who has been involved in a corruption scandal in which his family benefited from an inflated contract by the Ministry of Health.

Mkhize was replaced by his former Deputy Minister Joe Phaahla. Enoch Godongwana was appointed finance minister after Tito Mboweni asked to be replaced, Ramaphosa said.

Political analyst Ralph Mathekga said it was clear that Ramaphosa had to balance political considerations in his reorganization, especially after the departure of Mkhize, a high-ranking ANC official from the influential province of KwaZulu-Natal. Ramaphosa took no action against Police Minister Bheki Cele, despite the police’s ineffective response to the riots, probably because Cele also comes from KwaZulu-Natal.

“By leaving Bheki Cele (Minister of Police) untouched, you can see that he considered the political consequences of firing both Mkhize and Cele. He really tried to balance the need to deal with security issues but also consider the political consequences for him,” said Mathekga, a author on politics in South Africa.

According to Mathekga, former Finance Minister Mboweni’s decision to leave the government is an indication that he no longer has confidence that Ramaphosa is serious about making the economic changes needed to address the country’s economic challenges.

“South Africans can say goodbye to serious economic reforms,” ​​says Mathekga.


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